Why Early Intervention Speech Therapy is SO Important if Your Child is Delayed
Speech and language skills are critical to a child’s ability to learn and interact in the world around them. When speech-language delays are identified and treated right away, there are exponential benefits for their social-emotional and academic growth. The early years are the most important for building strong speech and language skills. In this stage, your child’s brain is growing extremely fast in the first five years of life. During this window, kids are more open to learning than they’ll ever. To minimize the long-term negative impacts of a speech-language delay or disorder, our Fort Myers speech therapy team recommends early intervention – starting before age 3, if possible.
Communication is one of the most critical developmental tasks of early childhood development. It’s the way children start to form their understanding of the world. When a child has trouble communicating (being understood and/or understanding others), it can hinder their ability and confidence to express their ideas and observations of the world around them.
Kids who struggle with communication in earlier stages of development may struggle with:
- Low frustration tolerance.
- Emotional outbursts.
- Excessive shyness.
They may also appear less academically advanced than their peers. That’s because reading, writing, and verbal assertions are essential to the learning process. The foundation for these skills starts very early – from birth. Your child may be too young yet for school, but if you notice they aren’t on pace with their peers in terms of speech and language skills, it’s a good idea to act promptly. The sooner you can address it, the less chance they’ll fall too far behind academically.
Also by the time kids get to school, their speech and language delays or difficulties may become markedly obvious, sometimes even to them. This realization can be a blow to their confidence, leading to lower class participation and performance. The earlier they can start working on it with a licensed speech-language pathologist (SLP), the less the deficit is going to impact them later on.
A child’s inability to express themselves or understand what’s being expressed to them has an undeniable negative impact on their ability to fully enjoy and participate in daily life. The earlier we can intervene with speech therapy, the less difficulty they’ll have as they get older.
If you’re uncertain or concerned, talk to your child’s pediatrician. They can give you insight on whether your child’s development is on target. They can refer you to a pediatric speech therapist in Fort Myers who can conduct an in-depth evaluation that will analyze the exact nature of your child’s speech-language deficits.
How Do I Know if My Child Needs Fort Myers Speech Therapy?
Some primary indicators that your child may need early intervention speech therapy:
- Not babbling at 4-7-months-old. Some parents may revel at having a “quiet baby,” but if your child isn’t experimenting with sounds with babbling by this age, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) points to this as a possible sign of a language disorder.
- Lack of gestures. Kids who don’t express themselves with gestures (pointing, waiving, etc.) by the time they’re 7-12-months-old could have a speech-language disorder.
- Trouble verbally requesting. A child who is between 1- and 1-years-old should have the ability to understand simple spoken requests. If your child doesn’t seem to pick up on one- or two-step directions by this time, that is possibly a language development issue that requires early intervention speech therapy.
- Difficulty speaking in full sentence. By the time your child is between 18 months and 2 years, they should be starting to form sentences. If your child has trouble speaking in sentences, it’s probably a good idea to have them screened for a speech or language disorder or delay.
- Having trouble making certain sounds. Kids with speech disorders often have trouble forming the sounds for the letters w, p, b, m, h, and w by the time they’re 2-years-old. Kids who are 2-3-years-old should be mastering the k, g, f, t, d, and n sounds. Also if their speech is just generally tough to understand by the time they 2-3, it’s a good idea to have them evaluated by a professional pediatric speech-language pathologist.
FOCUS provides speech-language therapy to kids in Southwest Florida. We also conduct in-depth evaluations that are used for diagnosis of certain conditions (including the ADOS Test for autism). Online speech therapy is also available to kids throughout the state of Florida.
FOCUS offers pediatric speech therapy in Fort Myers and throughout Southwest Florida. Call (239) 313.5049 or Contact Us online.
Early Intervention, ASHA
More Blog Entries:
Why Our Fort Myers Speech Therapy Intake Forms Inquire About Low Birth Weight, Aug. 20, 2021, Fort Myers Speech Therapist Blog